April 04, 2013  |   By Road&Track.com - Marshall Pruett

One Good Turn: Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Turn One

You may have watched the Indy 500 on TV or even attended the race in person, but have you ever wondered what it's like to go screaming into the first turn at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? To get answers, we asked track historian Donald Davidson and a couple of pros you may have heard of named Mario and Dario. They give you the insider's rundown on what Turn One is like in a open-wheel racer at full-tilt boogie:

Indianapolis Motor Speedway/Turn One

  • Entry Speed (Without Draft): 232 MPH
  • Max G's: 4.3
  • Exit Speed: 226 MPH
  • Corner Length (Wall): 1407.25 feet
  • Banking: Entry: 5.40o Apex: 8.27o Exit: 5.14o

The Comments

  1. "All those Saturday night dirt tracks around America, most are a quarter mile. That's Indianapolis turn one. Each turn is the length of a drag strip." - Donald Davidson, Official Track Historian

  2. "Turn One is not an easy wide-open. You turn in flat and have to keep it flat in order to gain lap time, but as you turn, you don't know what you've got. You're committing yourself to the corner at high speed, and you might get that big oversteer, a load of understeer, or you might not get enough grip and the thing will slide off the track. You're really going into the unknown." - Dario Franchitti, Indy 500 Winner, 2007, 2010, 2012

  3. "When I was a rookie, there was a big dip in the middle of the corner; that's where a lot of guys would get caught out. You had to set up for that dip or you could kiss your car good-bye." - Mario Andretti, Indy 500 Winner, 1969

  4. "I loved the apron. We were only supposed to go down there with two wheels, and I'd catch hell from (track superintendent) Clarence Cagle all the time. 'Stay off the apron!' I'd say, 'You know what? If it's asphalt, we're going to use it.'" - MA (Indy's Turn One included a banked and unbanked portion;the unbanked portion, called the apron, was taken out in 1992.)

  5. "Look at some of my qualifying in '65, '66, '67, we were sliding around because there was no downforce. I was taking every inch of the track, white-walling those skinny treaded tires in the short chute." - MA

  6. "It's supposedly been blind for years. European drivers have especially noted how Turn One narrows as you approach the corner, but most of all, it's blind. You cannot see the exit until you're at the corner, which must be daunting at any speed." - DD

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